At home in the wilderness. Our 8 m x 4 m house owed more to expediency than to gracious living. Our regret was that the roof blotted out the brilliant night sky. 

    Photo Credit: Susan Cusack

    Although rainfall was below average for our area the driest year for 30 years the Wet transformed our surroundings and our emotions. We were astonished by the explosive growth around us. Most of the hardships and strains of our first six months seemed to wash away in the torrent. 

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    At Kunmunya, on the rock ledge overlooking the house the traditional owners of the land allowed us to build and occupy, we were always conscious of Aboriginal presence. The escarpment hid fragments of the rich culture of the people whose rain spirits were the Wandjina. 

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    We were like excited kids at a party after we received unexpected Christmas bounty in an air-drop from near-neighbour Rob Barrett of Beverley Springs Station, 160 km south-east. Christmas brought the rain at last, and the creek and a substantial nearby waterfall flowed for the first time since our arrival in June. 

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    Exhilirated by our initial successes, we pose among the first uprights of our new home for an informal delayed-action portrait.

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1987: One year in the wilderness

By AG STAFF | November 9, 2017

Apart from radio contact with the RFDS base at Derby, 240km away, Mike Cusack, a ranger, and his wife Susan, a naturopath, were left entirely alone, by Australian Geographic, to survive for a year in 1987 in the remote Kimberley. Last Wednesday they received a special commemorative award on behalf of AG.